The Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC), heralded around the globe for its exceptional artistry and wide ranging repertoire, showcases “Minimalist Masterworks,” featuring works by celebrated American composers Steve Reich and David Lang, on Sunday, April 6, 2014, 7 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The concert opens with Pérotin’s Sederunt principes featuring tenor soloists Pablo Corá, Michael Lichtenauer and Shawn Kirchner. The Chorale then reprises Reich’s You Are (Variations), commissioned, premiered and recorded by the Chorale in 2004 (Nonesuch), and Lang’s Pulitzer Prize-winning the little match girl passion, of which LAMC presented an extended choral version last season hailed as “a performance to remember” (Outwest Arts). ListenUp!, a pre-concert talk with Gershon and KUSC’s Alan Chapman, is slated for 6 pm, in BP Hall. The concert is part of the second installment of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s citywide, multi-disciplinary Minimalist Jukebox Festival, curated by composer John Adams.
Critics across the country have lauded the little match girl passion, based on the Hans Christian Andersen story with additional text borrowed from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, as one of the most original choral compositions of the new century since its riveting premiere in Carnegie Hall. The Los Angeles Times described the Pulitzer Prize-winning piece as a “missive from heaven…a stunner” and credits Lang with finding “a radiantly hip spiritual core to a maudlin story that stubbornly refuses to go out of fashion.” The New York Times proclaims, “With this work – one of the most moving and original scores of recent years – Lang has solidified his standing as an American master.” The Washington Post declares, “I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved…(it) is unlike any music I know.”
Reich’s four-movement You Are (Variations), considered by the composer as one of his most important works, is written for 18 amplified voices, and an amplified instrumental ensemble. In addition, there are four virtuoso piano parts for which the Chorale has tapped noted pianists Gloria Cheng, Lisa Edwards, Bryan Pezzone and Vicki Ray, who also performed on the Chorale’s recording. Enthused the Los Angeles Times of the premiere, “Grant Gershon conducted a fearless performance…full of elation.” The LA Weekly called it “splendid…gleaming…fresh.” The text of You Are (Variations), written in both English and Hebrew, is drawn from the Talmud, the Psalms, and the writings of philosopher Paul Wittgenstein. Additionally, the title itself and the text of the first movement are taken from the phrase “you are wherever your thoughts are,” written by the 18th Century Jewish mystic Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.
Tickets range from $29 – $119. Group rates are available. For tickets and information, please call (213) 972-7282, or visit www.lamc.org. (Tickets cannot be purchased at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office except on concert days starting 2 hours prior to the performance.) The Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 South Grand Avenue at First Street in downtown Los Angeles.